A prerequisite to the implementation of the requirements of Directive, was its introduction into Northern Ireland law. After a public consultation on the proposed legislation, in November 2009, it was formally introduced as The Water Environment (Floods Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009.
Following the introduction of the Directive into NI law, the Directive required 3 distinct preparatory stages:-
1. Review of the Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment
We have commenced the 2nd 6 year cycle of the Directive’s processes with a review of the 2011 Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment, which was completed in December 2018. Since 2011, much work has been done to produce more accurate mapping of flood risks and to reduce risks e.g. provision of new infrastructure schemes. A key consideration of the review is that the existence of flood defences was not taken into account in the PFRA which ensured, at that time, a precautionary approach in assessing flood risks. Now, we have much better information about our flood defences and their standards of protection and so this review took account of the presence of defences.
The Directive therefore recognises that flood risk is continually changing and that regular review of risks is necessary. The output of the Review of the PFRA has been reported in the Northern Ireland Flood Risk Assessment 2018 (NIFRA 2018).
2. Flood Hazard and Risk Mapping
Although the updating of flood mapping is normally an on-going process, the Directive requires Member States to complete a review of its mapping processes and to formally update flood hazard and risk maps. For the 2nd cycle, this review was completed in December 2019, in line with the legislative requirement.
The Flood Hazard and Flood Risk Maps can be accessed via this link:-
3. Flood Risk Management Planning
Similarly to the preceding stages, Flood Risk Management Plans which were completed in December 2015, are required to be reviewed and updated to take into account the changes in flood risk since the 1st cycle and the information coming out of the NIFRA 2018 and the updating of flood hazard and risk mapping. This will lead to development of a new plan as well as a review of the achievement of the 1st cycle Plans.